Aug 202010
 

Murder in India:

Most of this is “sources said” and investigations are continuing so the full facts are not yet know. Regardless, the tragedy and the stupidity here fills me with sadness and rage. But one thing I did notice was that the village, at least, knew this was wrong and alerted the authorities.

How are these “tantriks” and other purveyors of depravity to be stamped out? Education, obviously is an answer, but in what form? Murder and evil happens in all countries; some in the name of religion, and some not. Killing your children is not supported by any major religions in modern times. So I do not think that murders such as this are common in India, but the nucleus of an idea is there from which evil does grow and manifest itself. It needs to be checked. I don’t have solutions but highlight this in the hope that others will read and ponder.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Aug 162010
 

Link over here: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/law-chief-urges-scots-courts-consult-the-bible-in-judgments-1.1048316

Perhaps we need to look at Jephthah (Judges 11) for guidance in making judgements (please, watch all of it):

Definitely a “…sick, unjust, cruel, violent, mass murdering, psychopath”.

More fun than turning the other cheek, right?

The proposal is obviously not ever going to happen but I wonder what prompted the old man to even consider it? Perhaps he’s trying to make himself relevant in today’s world? But I think that it exposes the ugliness and backwards thinking in him and in the organisations from which he derives his “moral” code.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Taliban justice

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Aug 162010
 

It took me a while to decide whether to post this here. Time’s circulation is huge but I wanted to add my own small contribution.

time_cover_0809

And I remember this barbaric law being passed when I was in Afghanistan last year:

So even with a government installed by the US-lead coalition, there was still pressure enough for this law to be passed. That must tell you something about the overall state of society in Afghanistan.

It doesn’t look good, does it?

I really don’t know what the solutions are. You could keep pounding the Taliban but their adherence, interpretation and practice of a strict form of Islam is attractive to some despite its barbarity. It helps to instil fear. It helps to indoctrinate. It keeps those people in power, tightening their stranglehold on the people. That’s going to be a long war.

In addition to all these atrocities, the Taliban have destroyed a large part of Afghanistan’s cultural past. In particular, the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddha statues in Bamiyan in early 2001. An except from my travel journal from last year:

The complex of caves and grottoes in the cliff-face was amazing. I hadn’t realised how big this was. There are interconnected walkways, stairs and caverns hidden behind the cliff-face walls. We made our way up inside the cave complex and ended up in the niche where the Large Buddha once stood. Wow. That statue was a giant. It was sad to see this empty space where the Buddha statues had stood for 1,500 years and I had missed out seeing them by 8.5 years. It was the criminal destruction of the Buddha statues by the Taliban in March 2001 that had first brought this region, and the word “Taliban”, to my notice. I felt an anger and a sadness back in 2001, and I never did imagine that one day I would be here at Bamiyan. Today, I just felt a sadness. The statues were gone. And I could never forgive the Taliban for these actions and for their other crimes against humanity. A backwards people in all regards.

Seeing the Afghan government eager to include the Taliban in the future of running the country fills me with dread. But perhaps I’m wrong? Perhaps the Taliban are not a homogenous group? Perhaps there are moderate, non-violent elements of the Taliban? Perhaps. But there is something in the philosophy of the Taliban, something in its very fabric, that has allowed itself to reach the levels of atrocities that make the news. So I am suspicious.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Aug 152010
 

Having recently read Ben Goldacre’s book “Bad Science” I wished I’d thought of this brilliant idea from Tom Scott:

I have been using the guidance in “Bad Science” to critically examine news media stories and cut through all the bullshit, and Scott’s idea makes it a lot more fun.

Well done.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Aug 132010
 

An Afghan driver who survived the ambush tells how Karen Woo and the other charity workers died at http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/67168,news-comment,news-politics,british-aid-worker-karen-woo-was-killed-by-a-grenade-as-she-hid-in-4×4-afghanistan-ambush#ixzz0wUgXF958

I can remember how a year ago we were waived down by masked gunmen in Afghanistan. That was a nervous time; nowhere to run or hide as we were led out of our vehicle at the point of an AK47, patted down and everything searched whilst we had no idea on who they were or what they wanted. Local gunmen / bandits? Taliban? But everything resolved itself when they eventually turned out to be Afghan Army on a recon clearing the roads for a large military convoy.

But Karen Woo and her party weren’t that lucky. What they got instead would appear to be gunmen from outside the region and perhaps some from Pakistan.The worry here is that gunmen may step up the targeting of charity workers and other non-military groups.

Evil is what evil does.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Ofquack

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Aug 112010
 

Dave Colquhoun of DC’s Improbable Science provides further insight into Ofquack also known as the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).

He makes the case that Ofquack will ultimately fail. The problem with Ofquack is that it does not seem to have a rigorous method for determining the efficacy of the various treatments that fall under its umbrella.

Whether you call it “natural” or not, provided that a treatment is shown to work it becomes known as “medicine”, right? Evidence-based medicine is what we’re after, and Ofquack seems to be failing in that regard.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Aug 112010
 

Is that Pharyngula being nasty to you again? There, there. Have a cookie.

Here’s a man basing his morality, his way of live, on that hilariously hideous book called the Bible. The more I look at that book, the more I find it incredible that anyone can take it seriously (the Koran is just as bad). It’s just plain bonkers in many places with a monster ruining people’s lives.

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Richard Dawkins, “The God Delusion”

The Pope and his friends do not have any moral high-ground and no rights to be immune from criticism. So I and others will call it as we see it. And if that means being “nasty” then so be it. Religion deserves no special privileges.

I’ve added some links here that some may find amusing:

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Aug 102010
 

Richard Dawkins is quoted by The Daily Mail

“I do feel visceral revulsion at the burka because for me it is a symbol of the oppression of women.”

The Daily Mail also reported

His comments prompted fury among Muslim groups who accused him of being ‘ignorant’ and ‘Islamophobic’.

I’m not sure who these “Muslim groups” are and who they represent, but if their comments are true then it is clear that they are the ones being ignorant. Dawkins is an atheist and he has explained many times the flaws of religion and the flaws in reasoning that allow one to become religious or “believe” in a god. For these groups to say that Dawkins is “Islamophobic” is hilarious; Dawkins is irreligious!

But Dawkins is right. The tradition that allows, encourages and indoctrinates the wearing of such clothes is an oppressive regime particularly against women; you don’t see men wearing burhas for example. Oppressive. Violent. Repulsive. It goes against against freethinking and all that is morally good.

I will note that there are vast sections of Islamic society that don’t practice such barbarity; I call on you to stand up and be counted in helping to stamp out this evil.

Those out there that practice these and other oppressions deserve my revulsion too; I don’t care if you call yourself a Jew, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, atheist, whatever. Evil is what evil does.

“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

Steven Weinberg, quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Karl Giberson

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Aug 102010
 

Just seen an article at Evolution Is True:

I’m no genius, but even I can see the infantile, naive and flawed logic expounded by Karl Giberson.

Really, why bother with all these convoluted “disappear up your own exhaust tube” logic? Religion is faith based, and a rational and consistent scientist/person will discard it; much as I have discarded Thor, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Allah, Jehovah, and Zeus. All are concepts of the human mind with no evidence. Habeas corpus.

The main thing I got out of the article was a pointer to Bertrand Russell’s book “The Problems of Philosophy” which I located at the Project Gutenberg site at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/5827 which included an EPUB format which I’ve promptly downloaded into iBooks on my iPad.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

PS – Aha! Just found out that Karl Giberson is the Vice-President of the BioLogos Foundation. I’ve written about them before. That explains a lot.

Aug 072010
 

Following my post “Boris Johnson harming kids?” at http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2010/08/03/449.html, I’ve found an earlier article from fullfact.org “Literacy in schools: are the statistics unsound?” which describes serious issues in the validity of statistics and data sources. Much work still to be done to confirm source data and validate the statistics.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010